Recreating Myself

When I was 13 I had a New Year’s Resolution that I was going to change my personality that year.  It didn’t really work out, but I suppose I try this every so often.  Familiar?  That lovely thing called Insecurity that makes me want to be Someone Else.  But I do think that being a tad older has made for a freedom where I can switch it up when I want to.  With a lot less Insecurity, I perhaps don’t change my personality, but might decide I want to start wearing more scarves, or more red, or put a purple streak in my hair (I found a powder that washes out immediately).  The other day I told myself that I wanted to start dressing a little nicer for regular days, so I wore my cashmere jacket just to go to the movies, not a special occasion.  And I put on those red boots that I have been “saving” for I don’t know what–red boot events?  It felt good being that dressed up person.  But, a few days later, when I wanted to wear my sweatpants and baggy tee shirt, I let myself be that person too. I even dug out my baseball cap because I didn’t feel like washing my hair before going out. I can be whoever I feel like any day of the week now that I’m over 50. Who knows who I’ll be tomorrow! Maybe I’ll wear a dress.  I never wear dresses.  They just aren’t me.  

Or are they?

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It’s Not All Roses

Just so it doesn’t seem like I’m all positive and woohoo! about every aspect of getting older, I thought I’d share a bit of the icky part:

A younger friend of mine (thirty-something) told me a few days before my 50th birthday that she hoped I didn’t become one of those angry middle-aged women.  Now, my friend and I share a love for sarcasm, so it brought  the image of Shirley Maclaine in Steel Magnolias where Shirley says, “I am not a BITCH, I’ve just been in a really bad mood for the last 40 years.”  I loved that movie. And who doesn’t want to be a Steel Magnolia?

But the comment did make me think about how there does seem to be a lot of resentment hanging on when we get into our middle years.  I thought of all the reasons why this is, and I came up with lots of things about relationships, and hard bumps in life, and the ugly things we see over 50+ years, and then today I got a migraine.  And it was all very clear to me.

Migraines.  This whole damn Change of F***ing Life.  I’m all for Change, and I’m all for getting rid of my period, but really, how many years do I have to have these migraines?!  I’m not a BITCH, I just want to cut my head off.  Or someone else’s.

Have a great weekend!

My Cake And I Am Eating It Too

Well, the celebrations had to end at some point.  One last party by Eber and my friends this past weekend.  I had a blast.  And was quite the queen, I am not embarrassed to say.  I am not so sure the celebrating is really over, maybe just the cake.  It’s trash day after all.  But now I’m planning my dream trip to Paris in May. Stay tuned for the details and icing on that celebration!  Why not celebrate until we keel over?! That’s my philosophy.

photoOh,and the rest of the cake said, “& Fabulous, The Unauthorized Biography”  Who wouldn’t want Kitty Kelly to write their biography.  My, what she could write!

MidLife Crisis

Michelle Obama and I both had birthday parties to celebrate our 50ths this past Saturday.  I read an article where she said her mid-life crisis was when she got bangs.

la-pn-michelle-obama-past-photos-20140114-047Funny, I would have to say that was my mid-life crisis too.  Which is something of a relief because I thought I may have failed in the mid-life crises department.  But when I turned 45, I gotbangs for the first time since I was about 7 years old.  I had them for about 2 years.  Then I decided they weren’t for me.  But now, I’m thinking of going back to them.  I considered other ideas, like cars and crazy trips, but nothing really sounded like anything I remotely was interested in. Bangs were as crazy as I got.  I’d love to know what other have done, are doing, or plan on doing for their mid-life crises.  Even if it’s wilder than bangs!  

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When and HOW do you decide to quit reading a book?

In school we had to read a book to the end whether we liked it or not.  We were taught that every book had a lesson or a theme that applied to life.  Now that I’m no longer under a teacher’s thumb and I pick what I want to read, it took me many years to realize I don’t have to finish every book.  Even if everyone else loved it. It’s one of the beautiful freedoms we gain as we become older and start making our time more precious, and start focusing on who we are.

But how do we decide to give up and close the book covers?  And how far do we read to make this decision?  I’d love to know what others do.

As I am now 50.022 years old, I give up on books much earlier.  Maybe too early? If I find myself not thinking about the story when I walk away from it, then I may give it one more chance before I return.  It’s not about intrigue, it’s more about the characters and whether or not I want to hang out with them.  But I wonder if I’m missing out on something because I gave up too early. Do you?

What and How on Reading

I’m reading Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch.  It’s over 700 pages long which intimidates me on the one hand, on another, on my iPad the heft isn’t a constant reminder.  But it’s not the quantity that counts, as my seventh grade teacher used to say, it’s how I’m reading now versus how I used to read as a younger person.

When I was younger I read as fast as I could. Part of this was a result, I’m sure of sitting in Mrs. Stine’s sixth grade reading circle and when it was my turn to read aloud I’d try to read as fast as I could to impress my classmates. I also was under the gun to get so many books read.  I knew the world was made up of zillions of books in the library and bookstore waiting for me. My older brother was always giving me books I didn’t understand, Borges, Lovecraft, etc. and I wanted to get through them to say I had read them.  So much reading to do, so little time!

Now, not so much.

Now, I am still anxious about all the books to read and not having the time. But now I wallow. I was somewhere around page 100 and something in Donna Tartt’s book when I realized I couldn’t remember what had transpired between the main character, Theo and the dying man in the museum.  I remembered some details, but not all. Probably Tartt would have reminded me of the details as the story continued, but I wanted to hold them in my hand while I read. So I went back 75 pages and reread the long scene. Details showed themselves that I hadn’t held onto before. Really important and rich details. Part of that gone-missing problem is my holey memory, part of it is remnants of old habits of reading too fast. But the best part is how now I have the patience to go back and take my time and if it means I’ll read fewer books this month, I know it means this book will stay with me longer.  

Just a realization.

Happy 50.019th to me.

Memory

I’m fascinated by memory, so I’ll probably write many posts about memory.  Not just the kind of memory that fades as we get older, but about how we all have different memories and how memory is really our perspective.

Today, on my 50.016th birthday, I’m going to tell a funny thing that happened.  Yesterday, about noon I finished my daily dose of writing requirement. I’m working on an essay about memory, coincidentally.  When I finished I started thinking about what time I should go to the gym, where I should fit it into the rest of my schedule.  I had books to donate to the library, I had some bookkeeping I needed to get to, and I had made myself a commitment to go to the gym everyday.  As I sat rubbing my sore shoulders, I thought that maybe I’d try for an evening class, and maybe I could fit in a nap if I did.  Then it dawned on me that the reason my shoulders were sore was because of the pull ups and push ups I had done at the gym at 7am that very morning.

I like that as I get older my memory puts away things I don’t need to dwell on. On the other hand, it’s a little scary that I might have gone to the gym twice.  Maybe that’s why my shoulders were so sore?  Can’t worry about that.

Not Beating Myself Up About It

That’s the new motto I’m trying to adhere to.  Trying.  A friend missed a deadline and said she wasn’t going to beat herself up about it anymore.  I get it.  I didn’t used to though.  I used to feel all those feelings that come with “failure”–shame, guilt, disappointment and anger.  “I should be better,” I would tell myself.  At some point, probably just last year, I realized the world doesn’t end. But over time, I also realized that we really don’t have that much control anyway.  What’s going to get done, will get done. What doesn’t, well, it will eventually, or just doesn’t.

When I don’t get what I want done in the time allotted, I’m going to focus on what I did get accomplished.  Maybe I didn’t finish that chapter I promised myself I would get to this week, but I did get to the gym every day, and I feel fantastic!  Why ruin that good feeling with guilt?

No more beatings.  Just celebrating.  I’m 50.014 years old today.

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To AARP or not to AARP.

I returned from celebrating my 50th birthday in NYC to a smattering a birthday cards, my tax accountant’s “It’s that time” letter, and an AARP membership offer.  My first reaction was that it was too early to hear from them.  I tried to remember what AARP stood for.  After a quick search, I couldn’t find the actual meaning of the acronym, but my memory (a 50-year-old one) says it’s American Association of Retired Persons.  My next thought was simple, “I don’t intend to ever retire. I’m a writer.”  Then I thought, “But the discounts!” And that’s when I decided to at least see what they had to offer.

AARP letter

I am somewhat of a frugal person, so I scanned the list of discounts.  At first, I was disappointed that there were no movie discounts.  The stigma that goes with AARP is “old”.  I knew that if I started receiving the magazine in my mailbox and they ended up scattered about my house, it would seem like my parents’ house, not mine.  Then again, AARP is a rite of passage.  A passage I like taking, so I’m signing up!  I’m signing up at the same time I’m also renewing my membership to the ACLU (something every writer young or old should contribute to) and to Poets and Writers.

Now I have to wait six weeks for my membership kit and for my FREE travel bag.

I’m 50.011 today.

I’ve started a blog.  Here it is.  I never figured I’d be any good at blogging, and I still don’t.  But I did figure it might be fun to document my 50th year.  And to talk about aging.  Image

I love getting older.  Since I was 8 years old, I’ve wanted to be 70. Now, here I am at what some might call middle-aged, and what I definitely consider the middle.  I plan on living to be 100.  That’s all there is to it.  I may be wrong, and the proverbial bus could leave grease marks on my torso tomorrow, but I still have my calendar marked up through 2064.

I do know that getting older isn’t all cartwheels.  In fact, I’m pretty aware that cartwheels are out of the question.  But then, I was never very good at cartwheels, even in 4th grade.  And that brings me to all the things we no longer have to care about.  Let’s talk about those in this blog.

I don’t want to blather on each day, but each day I put down a thought or two.  I’m making a commitment to write a daily paragraph (or three) on the ups (and downs) of the first year (at least) of  the other side of My Hill.  This is the downward slope of being Over the Hill, after all, and as an avid hiker, downhill can be a respite from the climb, but other times a steep balancing act.

Let’s see how long I can keep this going.  I’m 50 4/365ths.  Everything is possible. Pretty much.

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